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Keller @ Large: Previewing 2018 With Mass Dem. Party Chair Gus Bickford

BOSTON (CBS) -- We're days away from Municipal Election Day in Massachusetts--and it marks the unofficial starting gun for several important races in 2018, including those for Governor of Massachusetts and for U.S. Senate.

The Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, Gus Bickford, sat down with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller this week to discuss those races.

gus bickford keller at large
Mass. Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. (WBZ-TV)

Bickford has urged those who aren't fans of President Donald Trump to gear up to get rid of Gov. Charlie Baker next year, saying that their mutual party affiliation compromises Baker. He gave an example in how Baker, despite serving on the President's opioid commission, didn't criticize the president's decision not to tie federal funds to his emergency declaration on the opioid crisis.

"We just saw an example this past Thursday, when the President talked about the emergency announcement on the opioid crisis--which many of us have known about for years, and he's just recognizing it now--but he put no money behind it," Bickford said. "Governor Baker is on that, we did ask him to resign from that commission for this very reason. He needs to stand up for people in Massachusetts and recognize that there needs to be money put behind this."

Bickford and Keller also talked about a recently-passed criminal justice reform bill and the party's position on criminal justice reform.

"Moving forward, I think that we recognize that there needs to be more look at why people are in the positions they are, specifically when it comes to the sentencing reforms," Bickford said. "I think that we need to recognize that there has to be strength behind the judge's decisions and give them flexibility. I also think very strongly when it comes to drug offenses we are in a different place now than we were maybe when many of these mandatory sentences were set, because we do need treatment ... the jail cell is not treatment."

The two also talked about what Bickford thinks will be the biggest issue in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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